New book suggests roots of current conflict in Ukraine stem from WW1

Olivia Miller
Europe shown on a globe
Picture by Tom Grimbert

A new book from Frank Furedi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR), proposes that the chain of events that led to the war in Ukraine are connected to questions left unresolved in the aftermath of World War One.

Professor Furedi argues that the war in Ukraine demonstrates that history has returned and that the West has lost sense of the past, undermining its capacity to deal with the present crisis.

In the book titled The Road To Ukraine: How the West Lost Its Way (De Gruyter), Professor Furedi provides a historical-sociological perspective on the current conflict in Ukraine. He suggests that overcoming the state of ‘historical amnesia’ is the precondition for the restoration of global solidarity.

The book begins by explaining how a loss of a sense of history has led to illusions about the end of wars in Europe, before discussing key differences between the current Ukraine war and the Cold War. Professor Furedi goes on to offer a critique of the ideology of globalism, the concept of presentism and the media portrayal of the Ukraine war, before issuing a warning about the ‘New Normal’.

Professor Furedi was inspired to write The Road To Ukraine: How the West Lost Its Way while visiting Western Ukraine during the current war in March 2022. During this time he visited then small historic city, to which his Hungarian parents referred to as Munkács. Now it is part Ukraine and goes by the title of Mukachevo. The city is in the Zakarpattia Oblast, in Western Ukraine. Munkács was at one time a centre of Jewish culture.

Professor Furedi said: ‘I became interested in Munkács when I saw a YouTube video of young Zionist children and people dancing the hora in the 1930s. I could not stop thinking about the video because I realised that most of the people dancing in the main square would have perished in the Holocaust. It was my personal reaction to this tragedy and the realisation that we are not done with the Past that motivated me to write this book.

‘History has had its revenge on a culture that believes that what happened in the past no longer matters.’

The Road To Ukraine; How the West Lost Its Way is published by De Gruyter. It will be released on 3 October 2022.